Tag Archives: Forbes


Sale of Forbes is close


Final offers to acquire Forbes Media, the parent of the business magazine Forbes, were due on Sunday, report Stefania Bianchi, George Smith Alexander and Zijing Wu of Bloomberg News.

They write, “The sale of Forbes, famous for tracking the wealth of billionaires across the globe, follows years of dwindling profits as the rise of digital media ate into advertising at the magazine. During the sale process, Forbes executives have emphasized the brand as a masthead for events and conferences as well as real-estate developments, a way of extending beyond its roots in traditional media, two people said.

“‘Forbes used to just be a magazine, now it’s a worldwide business brand,’ Ken Doctor, a media analyst with Outsell Inc., said in an interview. ‘How many people in their twenties and thirties are in emerging business markets — Asia, Africa, Latin America? That’s my sense of the great growth potential of the Forbes brand.’

“Spice Global, whose businesses range from finance to health care and entertainment, is currently seeking partners from the Middle East, the U.S. and Singapore as it prepares its bid for Forbes, said two of the people. The company will keep a majority stake in Forbes even if it bids with a partner and may offer the Forbes family the opportunity to buy back shares in the company, one of the people said.”

Read more here.

Forbes Bulgaria

Forbes to launch edition in Finland


Forbes announced Wednesday plans to launch its latest international edition, Forbes Finland, in partnership with SK Media Group.

The launch will be held in Helsinki, Finland, with the first issue to be published at the beginning of summer 2014.  Forbes Finland will have an initial circulation of 50,000.

The content of Forbes Finland will consist of 60 percent Finnish business news, commentary and features, and 40 percent editorial from Forbes magazines from around the world.  The Finnish edition will be published monthly in Finnish language.

SK Media Group also publishes Forbes Latvia and Forbes Estonia, which launched in 2010 and 2012, respectively.  The license agreement for Finland also encompasses the launch of Forbes in Sweden and Norway.

“We’re excited about Forbes’ expansion into the Scandinavian countries starting with Finland,” said Forbes Media chief operating officer Mike Federle in a statement. “SK Media Group has had a lot of success in the Baltic countries and we’re confident that the Group will develop an important presence for the newly launched edition in Finland. This launch continues our rapid expansion into Europe, which has become a very important strategic footprint for Forbes.”

Forbes also has licensee editions in Africa, Argentina, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Israel, Kazakhstan, Korea, Middle East, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, and Ukraine.

Biz media digital audience

Forbes leads biz media among digital audience


Lewis Dvorkin, the chief product officer at Forbes Media, writes about how business news media are attempting to increase their digital audience.

Dvorkin writes,”I saw the numbers in the chart below (November 2013) for the first time a few weeks ago when comScore came in to tell us about its multi-platform reporting capabilities. The light blue bars represent mobile-only domestic unique monthly visitors. The darker blue bars, desktop-only domestic unique monthly visitors.

“comScore says it’s still working on similar international numbers. comScore currently puts our international unique monthly visitors (presumably all desktop) at about 10 million, bringing the Forbes.com worldwide audience to about 36 million. (Note: comScore’s just-released December report increased our mobile-only number to 12.4 million; the Bloomberg-labeled bar includes both Bloomberg.com and BusinessWeek.com).”

Read more here.

Forbes Snapchat

Forbes could maintain stake in company


Forbes chairman and editor-in-chief Steve Forbes is apparently willing to take a 20 percent stake in the company after a sale to new owners, a well-placed source tells Keith Kelly of the New York Post.

Kelly writes, “That could have the effect of lowering the out-of-pocket costs to potential suitors.

“According to the Financial Times, second-round bids prior to serious due diligence were in the $350 million to $475 million range — considered amazingly pricey by most potential buyers in the US.

“The list of suitors, however, is dominated by bidders from Asia, where the Capitalist Tool and its rich lists are closely watched and the Forbes brand enjoys a better reputation than it does on the home front. Said one source of the deep-pocketed Asian suitors, ‘They are looking to gentrify their money.’

“‘This is a brand that will need lots of continuing investment to achieve a further global footprint, and the ability to conserve some cash going in, and then investing, could help the buyer,’ said Ken Doctor, an analyst who writes the Newsonomics column for the Nieman Journalism Lab.”

Read more here.

Forbes cover Blakely

Why a $400M price tag for Forbes is too high


Ken Doctor writes for the Nieman Journalism Lab about why the $400 million asking price is too much for Forbes Media, the parent of Forbes magazine, and he examines its growth projections for the next five years.

Doctor writes, “Let’s now look at the projected (2013-2018) numbers. Most striking is the earnings (or EBITDA line). Forbes says they will triple in five years, from $20.8 million to $62.3 million, even though they’ve grown only 25 percent in the last three.

“But revenue is projected to increase just 45 percent, to $209.9 million from $144.6 million. In the offering memo, Forbes doesn’t clearly explain why its projected cost increases are so much lower than its revenue increases.

“As important as the projections is the changing marketplace Forbes operated in.

“Forbes.com’s ad revenue is projected to move from $42 million in 2012 to $86 million in 2018. ‘Display advertising impressions are expected to increase in 2013 with rising traffic worldwide, and doubling of site visits resulting from increasing smartphone use. Increase in available display impressions, number of BrandVoice partners and success of the programmatic sales effort is expected to drive this increase in advertising revenue. Revenue is projected to grow at a CAGR of 8.7% through 2018 via a combination of increased traffic, new engaging products, improved sell-through at relatively steady rates and increased performance in programmatic sales.’

“That is, in one word, optimistic.”

Read more here.

Forbes power

Forbes moving to New Jersey


Forbes magazine is moving its base of operations out of Manhattan to New Jersey, reports Keith Kelly of the New York Post.

Kelly writes, “CEO Mike Perlis gave the word but said the company is looking for ‘strategically located office space in Manhattan to serve as a New York office.’

“Perlils said the new HQ lease, arranged by the LeFrak Organization, is at 499 Washington Blvd. in Jersey City.

“‘The New Jersey venue will give us the opportunity to create a state-of-the-art media center,’ Perlis said his memo to staffers.

“The move out of its HQ is not a shock since the Forbes family had already sold Forbes Media’s headquarters — purchased in 1965 — to New York University in 2010 for $65 million. At the time it signed a five-year lease to stay in the building. That lease expires Dec. 31.

“Still, leaving the Big Apple for New Jersey is a shocker as Forbes has been based here for 97 years.”

Read more here.



Forbes draws interest from international bidders


International companies such as Germany’s Axel Springer SE, China-based Fosun International Ltd. and Singapore-based Spice Global Pvt. Ltd., are bidding for Forbes Media, the parent of business magazine Forbes, reports William Launder of The Wall Street Journal.

Launder writes, “All three are expected to make ‘second round’ offers this month, the people say.

“Other potential bidders include Singapore-based Oxley Group and China’s G2 Whale Capital Group, two people familiar with the sales process said. At least one American entity is among the bidders, an investment group led by Jack Laschever, the president of Forbes’ conference business.

“Forbes owns Forbes magazine and the website Forbes.com, as well as a conference business and other operations. The makeup of the bidders highlights how Forbes’ owners—the Forbes family and private-equity firm Elevation Partners—are resting their auction hopes on the media company’s appeal to foreign investors interested in Forbes’ iconic brand name and the expansion of its digital operations in recent years.

“The Forbes name is already well-known outside of the U.S.: Forbes licenses its name to more than two dozen international editions, including Russian and Polish editions licensed to Axel Springer and a Chinese edition licensed to Fosun’s Media Group.”

Read more here.

bloomberg markets magazine - february 2014 cover hedge fund rankings

Biz magazines underperformed industry in 2013


Business magazines brought in fewer ad dollars in 2013 compared to the previous year, underperforming in an industry saw a slight increase in advertising revenue.

The 14 business magazines reported ad revenue of $1.33 billion in 2013, down 4.8 percent from 2012, according to data from the Publishers Information Bureau analyzed by Talking Biz news. In comparison, the consumer magazine industry reported a 1.1 percent increase in 2013.

In terms of ad pages, the business magazines reported  a 9.0 percent decline to 13288.80 pages in 2013, while the overall magazine industry reported a 9.0 percent decline.

The business magazine comparison includes the 2012 data from Smart Money, a Dow Jones & Co. personal finance magazine that stopped print publication that year. Excluding the Smart Money numbers in the comparison, business magazines still underperformed the industry, with a 3.1 percent drop in ad revenue and a 5.8 percent drop in ad pages in 2013.

The best-performing title among the business magazines was Bloomberg Markets, which reported a 14.7 percent increase in ad revenue to $38.3 million, and an 11.1 percent increase in ad pages to 774.26

Another strong performer was Barron’s, which reported a 9.9 percent increase in ad revenue to $67.4 million and a 6.4 percent increase in ad pages to 1,269.4.

The worst-performing was Black Enterprise, which reported a 38.6 percent decline in ad revenue to $15.8 million in 2013 and a 38.2 percent drop in ad pages to 338.38.

Among the big three business magazines, Fortune performed the best. It posted a 2.4 percent rise in ad revenue to $213.5 million and a 3.8 percent decline in ad pages to 1,408.77.

Forbes remained the top business magazine in terms of ad revenue and ad pages, but it saw declines in both. Its print ad revenue fell 5.3 percent to $260.4 million, while its print ad pages fell 10.4 percent to 1,644.24.

Bloomberg Businessweek reported a 9.5 percent drop in print ad revenue to $200.7 million and a 12.4 percent decline in ad pages to 1,306.26.

See all of the data here.


Forbes power

Forbes has six bidders who could pay up to $475M


Forbes Media has narrowed to six the potential buyers for its eponymous business magazine in an auction that could fetch it as much as $475 million, reports Ed Hammond of the Financial Times.

Hammond writes, “The six remaining bidders, which include both strategic and trophy buyers, made preliminary offers ranging from $350m to $475m and are expected to present final bids by the end of this month, according to the people. Those bids could be revised down following due diligence, however.

“Forbes Media, which is privately owned by the heirs of BC Forbes, who founded the publication in 1917, said in November that it had appointed Deutsche Bank to ‘test the waters’ by running a sale process.

“The 66-year-old Steve Forbes is chairman of the company and editor in chief of Forbes magazine, and grandson of the founder.

“The news publishing industry has endured a tough period, marked by declining advertising revenues, falling circulation and the proliferation of non-traditional media platforms. As a result, several high profile titles, including BusinessWeek, Newsweek and Maxim, have been sold during the past three years, often for little money.”

Read more here.

Forbes power

Forbes boss expects sales news in a few weeks


Keith Kelly of the New York Post reports that Forbes chairman Steve Forbes expects an announcement about its potential sale within a few weeks.

Kelly writes, “The executive said he expected to hear news ‘in the next several weeks.’

Asked if he was happy with the price, since Ink had heard that it might be having a hard time fetching top dollar, Forbes responded rather cryptically, ‘Price? I like the price. I’m Scottish, so I like the price.’

“Then he was gone.

“Up to 50 members of the extended Forbes family may participate in dividing up the profits from the company started by Steve’s grandfather B.C. (Bertie Charles) Forbes.

“The founding Forbes immigrated to the US from Scotland in 1904 and, after holding a variety of financial journalism jobs, started the magazine in 1917. He held the Editor-in-Chief job until his death in 1954 — when it was turned over to son Malcolm Forbes, Steve’s dad.”

Read more here. Although Scottish, Bertie Forbes actually moved to the United States from South Africa